Smoke & Jackal – ‘EP1’

Smoke & Jackal - 'EP1'


If everyone is nice, things don't get said that should be said, and things like this EP happen.

Surely the most dangerous myth perpetuated by children’s television is that everything works better if we’re all nice to each other. Stop the muppetry! If everyone is nice, things don’t get said that should be said, things don’t get changed that should be changed, and ultimately, things like this EP happen.

“We just talked about each other’s ideas; neither one of us got our feelings hurt,” Kings Of Leon’s Jared Followill has said of S&J, his bit on the side with Nick Brown from Mona. Well, you can tell. And the trumpeting elephant in this room that nobody told to get the fuck out is ‘No Tell’. “She’s down on her knees/She’s gonna throw away her father…” – the thrill of deflowering young girls is never exactly solid lyrical ground, and this compounds its creepiness with clammy, heavy-breathing ’90s Bryan Adams-style balladry.

The rest of the EP doesn’t offer any more surprises than the sleeve – a weak rip-off of Arcade Fire’s ‘Funeral’ – promises. On the self-consciously atmospheric ‘Road Side’, Brown’s warblings are so overdone they sound like a piss-take. ‘Save Face’, with its treated vocals and ominous drums is unbearably portentous; ‘Fall Around’ just one bellyaching chorus line with some moody shuffling in between.

No matter how hard it might be to be in KOL right now, it’s surely better than pissing about with the singer from a band whose own grannies describe them as “the poor man’s Kings Of Leon”. Nice? No, but really, someone had to say it.

Emily Mackay


Record label: Columbia
Release date: 16 Oct, 2012